Kirk Bohls released this week’s nine things and one crazy prediction. A couple were dedicated to the Longhorns. Here are Kirk’s takes on those items:
On the Texas baseball season:
Texas had an impressive ride this post-season that in some ways mirrored Mississippi State, which once stood 15-15 in the SEC and one strike away from elimination by regional host Florida State. (What exactly does MSU interim coach Gary Henderson, a onetime English teacher, need to do to prove he should be the permanent head coach?) The Longhorns were much better than MSU in the regular season, but it’s all about peaking in May, which they did by sweeping TCU in the final regular-season series to claim the Big 12 title. And they will be better overall in 2019 with a hopefully deeper pitching staff, thanks to big-potential newcomers like Cole Quintanilla and possible closer Donny Diaz, who are both coming off Tommy John surgery, as well as Ty Madden and Coy Cobb.
“When you get a taste of this, it makes you hungry,” said coach David Pierce, who added that players need to embrace their roles. “And this motivates you and this builds a culture of expectation from our program. And that’s the beauty of it. Their accomplishments were great, but what they’ve done for Texas athletics and Texas baseball is tremendous.”
Pierce will have a wealth of options on defense and will consider returning Masen Hibbeler to the infield, perhaps first base. Outfielder Austin Todd showed glimpses of his live bat with two pinch-hit singles in the College World Series. Versatile freshman Bryce Reagan and power hitter Alec Carr as well as intense grinder Chase Roberts are talented players who will fight for playing time in the infield. Could Kam Fields be a center fielder/reliever? I think Texas is scratching the surface, but it has to hit better than .250 in the CWS and leave 22 on base.
On Mo Bamba and chess tournaments:
Mo Bamba, who along with former linebacker Malik Jefferson may be the two most socially conscious athletes ever at Texas, has revealed he once went to a chess tournament in Philadelphia. “I got second or third,” Bamba said. “I came home with this trophy, and my brothers are bringing massive 6-foot trophies.” Bamba said he’s only 1-7 against his chess mentor. The former Longhorns center also said he had a goal of visiting every continent before he turned 21 but still has to check Europe and Africa off his list. He calls himself a hybrid 5 who defensively can guard anyone on the floor. “That fits in with direction of the league.”
For the rest of Kirk’s 9 Things, including his takes on Brooks Koepka’s US Open defense and potential changes to the College World Series, click here.
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